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DSK leaves court confident, despite new orgy evidence

© Philippe Huguen/AFP Dominique Strauss-Kahn has finished giving evidence in the French pimping trial

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2015-02-12

A confident Dominique Strauss-Kahn left court Thursday after further lurid details of his sexual mores apparently failed to undermine his main line of defence – that he didn’t know the women involved in orgies he attended were prostitutes.

Strauss-Kahn, 65, is accused of “aggravated pimping”, or organising and encouraging prostitution as part of an organised group, a charge he denies, saying he was never aware that any of the women he had sex with were paid.

Known in France as DSK, the former French minister and presidential hopeful claimed in earlier evidence that women “regularly threw themselves at me” and I always assumed they consented to (often brutal group sex) “because of who I am”.

‘Absolute discretion is a must’

The court in Lille, northern France, heard how Strauss-Kahn had a “bachelor pad” in Paris, kept secret from his wife, which he used for regular orgies.

The fact that he used a private apartment in Paris – which was rented through a proxy – to host these sexual encounters would add up to supporting prostitution under French law if it were proved that the women who attended were prostitutes.

SMS messages between the former IMF boss and friend and co-defendant Fabrice Paszkowski, in which Strauss-Kahn asked for women to be brought along to these sex parties, were also read out to the court.

In language that is undoubtedly embarrassing but does not prove that Strauss-Kahn was aware that these women were paid, Strauss-Kahn used the codeword “matériel” (equipment) to refer to the women in his SMS chats with Paszkowski.

In one text message, DSK said: “Absolute discretion a must, but she's a tidy bit of work and very sexy.”

‘Not the instigator’

Paszkowski has admitted to organising and financing the parties (although he denies paying the women explicitly for sex), a fact that Strauss-Kahn said proved he was “not the instigator” and had no reason to suspect that the women attending were prostitutes.

Strauss-Kahn may take heart from the fact that the court’s deputy prosecutor Aline Clerot, who has impressed and intimidated witnesses and defendants with her no-nonsense questioning, omitted on Thursday to challenge his version of events in any way.

A calm, confident and smiling Strauss-Kahn left the court as the session ended for lunch. He returns to court next week for the defence and prosecution’s closing speeches.

‘Deviant sexual practices’

Strauss-Kahn has been giving evidence since Tuesday in a case that dates from 2008 to 2011.

He told the court that while he was a “libertine” who enjoys group sex, it would have been too risky, as head of the IMF and preparing to run for the French presidency, to pay for sex and hope to get away with it.

But the trial has exposed Strauss-Kahn’s sometimes brutal sexual mores, with one witness, a self-confessed prostitute named only as “Jade”, claiming he sodomised her without permission during a threesome in a Brussels hotel.

On Wednesday, Strauss-Kahn lost his temper at one moment over the persistent questioning of his sexual preferences, calling the need for these details “absurd”.

He was not on trial, he said, for “deviant sexual practices”.

Fall from grace

A total of 14 people, including Strauss-Kahn, are defendants in the so-called "Carlton Affair" trial, named after the Lille hotel where alleged prostitution and pimping sparked the investigation into a sex ring involving Strauss-Kahn.

Strauss-Kahn, who was French finance minister in the 1990s and went on to head the IMF from 2007, was widely expected to run for the French presidency in the 2012 election against conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.

He was forced to withdraw following the damaging allegations that he had sexually assaulted hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo at the Sofitel New York Hotel in May 2011.

Criminal charges against him were eventually dropped – by which time the political damage was irreversible – and Strauss-Kahn settled civil proceedings brought against him by Diallo in New York.

Date created : 2015-02-12

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